Kind of Blue, Miles Davis’ best-selling album, was released in 1959. The entire album was composed as a series of modal sketches, in which each performer was given a set of modes that defined the parameters of their improvisation. While So What is the most famous tune of the album, All Blues is definitely a
Hi, my name is Dirk Laukens and I teach jazz guitar.
This led me to start studying jazz guitar full-time, first at the Jazz Studio (Antwerp, Belgium) and then at the Royal Conservatory of Music, also in Antwerp.
My guitar teachers at that time were Hendrik Braeckman and Martijn van Iterson. I also followed guest lessons and workshops by John Abercrombie, Jesse van Ruller, Kenny Wheeler, Barry Harris, Maria Schneider, and many more.
In 2003, I started Jazz Guitar Online as a means to document my lessons at the Conservatory. This grew out to the biggest and most popular jazz guitar website it is today, and a thriving forum with over 65,000 members.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have feedback or questions about all things guitar-related, I’m here to help!
My Current Gear
Gibson ES-175 (1973)
After years of playing Ibanez, Heritage, and Epiphone, I found my workhorse guitar in this 1973 Gibson ES-175.
I use this Fender Telecaster for more pop orientated stuf. A versatile guitar at a great price.
Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb
This digital version of the Fender Twin Reverb has the classic sound of the Twin at half the weight.
TC Electronic HOF 2 (Reverb)
The HOF is a great and inexpensive reverb pedal with a lot of posibilities and a great sound.
Thomastik JS112 Jazz Swing
I have been using these flat wound strings since forever because of their great sound and low tension.
BlueChip BC Jazz 60
They ain't cheap, but I have yet to find a pick with the same sound and control as these BlueChips.
My Latest Lessons
There Will Never Be Another You is one of my favorite jazz standards. I love the melody and the chord changes are easy, but not too easy to improvise over. The song was first recorded in 1942 by clarinetist Woody Herman but wasn’t very well known until Chet Baker recorded his vocal rendition in 1954.
The minor pentatonic scale is usually one of the first scales you learn as a guitar player. It is used a lot in blues, rock, and pop, but many jazz guitar players seem to neglect this scale.
This doesn’t have to be the case though, because the pentatonic scale is very useful, in jazz as well as other genres.
In this lesson, you will learn all the necessary fingerings of the minor pentatonic scale, and how you can use it to spice up your jazz solos.
Charlie Parker (aka “Bird”) is one of the founders of bebop. He was the master of chord tone improvisation and that’s why his playing is so interesting for guitarists to study. Though translating lines from sax to the guitar isn’t always easy, studying legendary players such as Charlie Parker is time well spent. Getting your
Build your jazz guitar vocabulary by learning these 50 classic bebop jazz guitar licks, as well as the important concepts behind each lick.
Learning to understand the concepts behind jazz licks is one of the most important aspects of building a jazz vocabulary.
Exotic guitar scales are great to add some new flavor to your music. In this lesson, you will learn 11 scales from different parts of the world. You will also learn how to practice these scales and get an introduction to Indian music for guitar (ragas). Each scale is in the key of A and
Learn how to play jazz guitar arpeggios and discover how they can improve your solos. Arpeggios are the best tool to improvise over chord progressions and jazz standards and give your solos that instant “jazzy” sound. In this lesson, you will learn all you need to know to start using guitar arpeggios in your solos.
Guitar modes are a type of scale that you need to master to be able to improvise in jazz.
Modes can be a bit confusing at the start, but once you get your head around the basic idea, you will notice modes can be quite simple and very useful for improvisation.
In this lesson, you will learn the modes of the major scale. You will learn the theory behind guitar modes, the different fingerings on guitar, and how to use them in your solos.
Learn these 7 guitar scales and you will be able to solo over almost any jazz standard. Understanding and knowing how to play these scales is essential for any beginning jazz guitar player. This lesson includes diagrams, audio, scale patterns, exercises, and solo examples.
In this music theory lesson, you will learn how to construct jazz guitar chords from scratch.
Understanding this essential theory will make finding chords on the fretboard much easier and it will take the guesswork out of playing jazz chords.
Besides learning this essential piece of theory, you will also learn how to apply the theory to the guitar. After all, that’s what you are here for!
Summertime is another one of those popular jazz standards that every jazz player needs to know.
In this lesson, you will learn a chord/melody arrangement of Summertime. You will also learn to improvise over the chord changes and learn a few soloing concepts.
Four on Six is a great jazz standard written by Wes Montgomery in 1960 and is a lot of fun to play.
Besides learning the theme, you will also learn how to improvise over Four on Six’s chord changes.
When searching for a jazz guitar tone, many guitarists will focus on their guitars and amps as the main source of their sound. But, there is often one important sonic ingredient that players ignore when it comes to finding the perfect guitar tone, the strings. Just as there are many styles of jazz, there are
Take Five is a classic jazz standard that many guitarists learn at one time or another in their development. But, while it can seem like a straight-forward progression that only uses two chords, creating a memorable solo over this tune is tougher than it seems. To help you solo over Take Five, and learn more
This lesson is the result of a survey among our subscribers. The question was “What is the best jazz guitar solo ever played?”.
The names that made it to the top 10 are Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, George Benson, Charlie Christian, Pat Martino, Jim Hall, Django Reinhardt, Kenny Burrell, and Grant Green.
Drop 3 chords are usually one of the first chord types beginning jazz guitarists start to learn.
They are ideal to use in a solo or duo setting because the bass note of drop 3 voicings is always on the 5th or 6th string.
In this lesson, you will learn how drop 3 chords are built and how you can use them on guitar (chord chart included).
In this lesson, you will learn a theme based on the gypsy minor scale, a scale that is prominently used in Romani (gypsy) music. Exotic guitar scales like this one are a good way to bring new sounds into your playing. The gypsy minor scale (aka Hungarian minor scale or double harmonic minor scale) is
Upper structure triads are useful for bringing new elements into your solos and comping. Upper structure triads and superimposition are something that you will hear popping up all on recordings by just about every single well-known jazz musician. As with every new improvisational device, the most important part is getting your ear acclimated to this
The Chicken is a cool jazz funk standard composed by Pee Wee Ellis, saxophonist and member of James Brown’s band in the 60s. The Chicken first appeared as a B-side of a 1969 James Brown single called The Popcorn but was later made famous by Jaco Pastorius, who made it his signature song. The chicken
Besame Mucho is a popular Bolero song played by Elvis Presley, Andrea Bocelli, and The Beatles, among many others. The most famous jazz version of Besame Mucho has been recorded by Wes Montgomery on his album Boss Guitar.
In this lesson, you will learn a chord accompaniment on acoustic guitar.
Drop 2 chords are the most popular and useful chord voicings for jazz guitarists and have been used by many great jazz guitar players such as Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass.
Download our chord chart and learn how to play drop 2 chords for comping, soloing and chord-melody arrangements.
Shell jazz guitar chords are also known as guide tone chords and are the most basic type of chords used in jazz.
Shell chords are a good place to get started because they contain the most important notes of a chord and can be used to build more complex chords.
Tone is an important aspect of any jazz guitarist’s voice and musical output. Whether you are jamming or out on a gig, your tone is what sets you apart from other players, and gives your playing a distinct voice all it’s own. One of the most important aspects of developing a solid tone is finding the
Guitarists in all genres love their gear, especially their guitars of choice, and jazzers are no different. In order to find out exactly what jazz guitarists are playing these days, we set out to conduct a survey of JGO readers and asked them about their best jazz guitar. After getting back over 5000 responses from
Jazz guitar chords can be complicated and as a beginner, it’s hard to know where to start. When first learning how to play jazz chords, many of us are intimidated by their sounds and shapes. But, jazz chords don’t have to be difficult to get under your fingers if you begin with the right shapes.